Tag Archives: Muswell Hill

Happy Kitsch and colourful Easter

Easter rabbits 001Poor mummy chick forgot to change the clocks forward and she overslept so she’s an hour behind and no time to do her hair.

Easter rabbits 002My kids think I’ve totally lost the plot ! Do I care ? No I don’t ūüôā

Easter rabbits 003In fact one of my boys is sitting in the front room with his football shirt on watching a game shouting at the top of his lungs every time the ball goes near the net. God knows what the neighbours think.

Easter rabbits 004The other son has just this second phoned me to say he’s on the train and can I fetch him in ten minutes…. errr no I can’t. He seems to think that I sit here with my car keys in my hand all day and night happily waiting for his call. I don’t. He’s 21 !!!!!!!!!!!!

My pictures, Book launch, Easter 013I was having a happy little Easter blog,

My pictures, Book launch, Easter 007and now I feel like this     Ahhhhhhhh. Happy Easter everyone. Off I go to the station.

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Filed under Easter, My Etsy Shop, Vintage Fabric

Anemones and an article in Prima Magazine.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 010I’ve always loved flowers but I remember being a small child and thinking that anemones¬†¬†

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 006were fuddy duddy, musty, ¬†dusty old lady flowers. I’ve sort of grown into them now. Oh dear.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 007They are amazing actually aren’t they.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 014There’s an article about me in Prima magazine, the April edition which came out about 3 weeks ago. Mags are always weeks ahead of themselves it seems.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 018It’s quite odd seeing what you’ve said written in print. A bit surreal. It was an article with three women, me being one of them, who had shops in their houses.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 017Gosh it’s tidy. I wish it was always like that. I’m a very untidy person.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 013Here’s a stork on the pond in the park where I take the dog. I think it’s a stork. I know that ¬†to people who live in the countryside it’s no big deal but for me it really is something special. It was¬†absolutely freezing on that day last week and it just stood there completely still. I see it quite often.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 004Lets have cake…….lemon drizzle anyone ?

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Filed under Magazine Features, My Old Victorian Garden, Vintage Pop Up Sales

Icicles on the Summer house

Icicles on the Summer house

Icicles on the Summer house

These were the icicles we woke up to yesterday. I’d been calling them stalactites, partly because I’ve always loved that word but apparently stalactites are only the ones in caves and and the ice ones are just….icicles.

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Icy fangs ?

Ice PalaceMy son came home early evening yesterday and broke some of them off and made a little ice palace on the garden table. I thought they’d be gone this morning, blown down or melted but it’s still there. The longest one is 83 cm high !

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This was just a bit of fun and my fingers are cold as I type, however there so many people and animals  in other parts of the country and on the continent who are suffering terribly and my heart goes out to them. A lot of them have had no electricity for days so I with my beloved electric blanket feel so blessed and lucky compared to the misery of so many.

On the news ¬†last night¬†there were pictures of a farmer¬†literally¬†digging his sheep out of the snow. It was so high you would never have known there were big animals below. One of the sheep had ¬†given birth a few hours before but there was no happy ending. It’s shocking this bloody weather. Most people I know are fed up with it, it’s boring, grey, cold and there’s snow when there shouldn’t be but lots of people are suffering hardships that I can’t imagine. Well done to all the emergency services and other¬†heros¬†¬†who are working so hard to help the people in need. I hope it’s over for them soon.

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26/03/2013 · 7:55 pm

Encouraging comments on Face Book

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I’m just realizing that the amount of people that see my posts on Face Book

directly correlates to the amount of people who leave a comment.

flower cards 005¬†I get a few likes sometimes which is always nice and shows that people have seen the posts but it’s the interaction that counts, which means commenting about the post. The more comments the more people get to see it. I don’t know how Face Book works but comments seem to generate action. ¬†I’m not very good at explaining¬†things I don’t understand !

I’m a culprit myself. I’ll see something nice on someone’s page and press the ‘like’ button but not often comment because I can’t think what to say and whatever I do say sounds phoney or cheesy and it’s a bit cringe….. I don’t always want to comment anyway, I just want to ‘like’ and go. But now I realize that it’s the comments that make the Face Book world go round I shall make much more effort to do so.

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I’ve also noticed and been told by ¬†social media expert Lindsay¬†that if you don’t comment on people’s posts or they don’t comment on yours that Face Book now don’t show you those posts any more and not only is that a real shame but when you have a business (fan) page it’s ¬†also detrimental. FB now want people to pay for posts¬†¬†to reach more people which does work as I’ve tried it but I’d much rather deal in comments than ¬£¬£¬£.

To encourage such comments I’ll do little competitions sometimes on my page which is what I made these cards for. That was all a bit long winded wasn’t it. Never been good at explaining myself, sorry xx Press this !

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Wonderful New deli and cafe in Muswell Hill, North London

Last weekend something very exiting happened in Muswell Hill. A new cafe opened. ¬†That it has opened a few doors from where I live and I can almost yell my lunch order from my front room is amazing enough, but the fact that it serves some of the best food I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten lots) is a very rare treat.

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It’s owned and run by Australian born Chris and his Polish born wife Bibi. They make¬†absolutely¬†everything themselves and it’s divine. Chris trained in¬†Australia before moving to London where he worked with¬†Gordon¬†Ramsey¬†in his¬†signature¬†restaurant in Hospital Road.

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He’s worked in some of the finest restaurants in Indonesia and in¬†Egypt where he had a staff of 170. He also worked as number 2 head chef at London’s Dorchester Hotel¬†for four years, was executive chef for at the Edwardian Hotel in Mayfair and executive chef for two years at The Hilton Tower Bridge.

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Chris and Bibi have just converted what was the chocolate shop on Tetherdown into the most convivial cosy, modern little eatery complete with fantastic antique furniture.

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The counter at the back came from an old paper mill in Essex and is stunning.

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In front the food stands on an old joiners bench which was sourced in Holland by antique dealer Drew Pritchard.

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The wooden floor boards are from an old textile factory in Islington and you can see where it’s been worn down by the trolleys

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and the main table at the front is a very well worn butchers block from an old French Country house.

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As for the food, oh my God the food, well I’ll eat anything and have just had¬†mackerel and sweet corn straight out of the tins while writing this but I do know and very much appreciate exquisite home made food when I see it and that’s what you get at Chriskitch.

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I went there on Saturday (first day it was open) and we were kindly given a big plate of desserts to try.  Chocolate and wild strawberry tart, orange cake,

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baked cheese cake to die for, look at them all in their own little baking tins, banana cake and a¬†scrumptious cake made with polenta.¬†My friend and I were¬†literally in a quiet cake euphoria¬†¬†and couldn’t believe how good it was. We ¬†were barely aware of Chris chatting away enthusiastically about his ingredients and cooking methods. We were very happy in our little cakey worlds.

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The next day a friend came over and we went there for a proper lunch as I was¬†desperate to go back and show off my virtually¬†en suite cafe to her. Well what joy….we had beetroot, orange and feta salad with¬†pomegranate, and aubergine and¬†chilli salad, with blue cheese and beer bread and corn and chilli bread, all of which Chris had made.

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With the most delicious ¬†baked cheese cake to follow, coffee and the most delicious home made peach juice. I know I’ve used delicious twice in one sentence….but it was.

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It’s been Chris and Bibi’s ¬†life long dream to have their ¬†own deli one day and now they have, in my lovely Tetherdown in a beautiful Victorian building which has………

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it’s very own OUTSIDE ¬†EATING AREA ¬†!!!!! How lovely will that be in the Spring and Summer. ( No pics of that because it hasn’t been beautified quite yet ).

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Chriskitch is open every day till 6pm  and opens at 12pm on Sundays.

7a, Tetherdown,

Muswell Hill

London.   Just by Fortismere school


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Filed under Chriskitch, Handmade, Muswell Hill, London, UK

A lovely Selina Lake feature with a few of my things included.

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Prima Magazine (March) came out a couple of days ago and I thumbed manically through the pages as the stylist Selina Lake  had borrowed a vintage fabric patchwork throw and three cushions from me.

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Page 81-83 they’re on ¬†!! I was quite exited standing in the magazine section of Tesco at 9pm, my new shopping time which is quite relaxing as it’s not busy and the crying ¬†babies and fed up toddlers are all at home. I think that after about 9pm they should put out a few comfy chairs so that those so inclined could read the mags in comfort instead of leaning¬†heavily¬†on our¬†trolley.

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I could quite happily  spend a whole day in Tescos. I usually spend about half an hour in the magazine section anyway and sometimes meet a friend upstairs at Costa for a nice uninterrupted hour or two of quality catch up time.

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Then back downstairs to meander round shopping¬†leisurely, reading¬†labels,¬†peering¬†at calorie contents, noticing how it’s all so expensive these days and wondering if my kids will notice that I’ve bought Tescos own brand of Special K. (They did and declared it inedible so I gave it to the birds)

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Then I’d go and buy a couple of news papers, go back up in the lift to Costa and ¬†have a nice cake or two which I didn’t have with my friend as we’re¬†fiendishly slimming (not)….

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Then I’d go back down and maybe browse through the ‘colds and flue’ isle wondering if it’s actually worth buying vitamins and then maybe saunter (wearilly, after those two cakes) around the electronic isle looking at phones and ipads.

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By this time I would hope that at least one of my children would have bothered ¬†to phone me to enquire as to my whereabouts….but probably not.

If my local Tesco had a bed and breakfast area for tired shoppers, like a little rest stop with own brand sheets, cheap slippers and mini tubes of toothpaste for those of us who couldn’t face the¬†inevitable job ahead of unpacking the shopping and putting it away then I’d book ahead. As long as I got¬†tipple club card points.

My throw featured here was ¬£140 but to¬†celebrate it being in Prima it’s now the amazingly good value of ¬£95. The cushion was ¬£45 and is now ¬£38.

Stylist Selina Lake ¬†is launching her lovely new book ‘Pretty Pastel Style’ with a wonderful fair with fantastic¬†designer¬†maker stall holders. I went to her last one nearly a year ago and it was so beautiful and quite exiting. It’s in Kingston West London on Friday the 22nd March 2013 and everyone is welcome. There will I’m sure be lots of cake.

The photo here are by Sussie Bell

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Filed under Handmade, Magazine Features, My Etsy Shop, My home featured in Selina Lake's new book !!!, Vintage Fabric

The old pet shop in Camden Town

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Every few weeks I meet a friend in Parkway, ¬†Camden for a quick lunch and a catch up. ¬†Parkway holds tons of¬†memories for me as I worked at the pet shop which was called ‘Regent Pet Stores’ there in the seventies. I’d left school at 15 and went straight there to work full time as animals and reptiles were my thing.

Copy of laura ashley. white cat. Palmers 003It was the most amazing year of my life and an¬†experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world. It was owned by John Palmer who was a sort of David Jason like¬†character, firm but fair with a wicked¬†sense¬†of humour.¬† He opened it before the second world war and some of the staff had been there almost since the¬†beginning.¬† It was like a¬†dynasty and the customers came from far and wide. I ¬†served Alex Harvey,¬†¬†Jonathan¬†Miller, Beryl Bainbridge, and Sir Ralph Richardson ¬†as well as a whole host of interesting people a lot of whom were quite¬†eccentric.

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We sold monkeys,  giant snakes, tarantulas,  scorpions, tree frogs, iguanas, rats, parrots,  as well as all the more usual types of animals. I remember so many things from my year there, I could write a book  and it gave me more than I could ever have hoped.

I loved Parkway and all the interesting shops there where I’d go at lunchtimes. I was sometimes wary ¬†of the drunks and the¬†shenanigans¬† between them, especially on the station platform, ¬†but it wasn’t sinister and then like now you needed ¬†your wits about you.

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On my Saturday lunch hour I’d go to Camden Market which was at that time a lovely antique market with second hand clothes stalls and I’d buy grand dad shirts for 50 p each. I loved working there, it was hard work, dirty, smelly and fantastic. A man called Guy Stocker was my boss, he was only about 24 but he exuded fun and enthusiasm and knowledge. I heard a couple of years ago that Pam who was¬†literally larger than life and ran the whole place for most of her life had died. I felt so sad when I heard. She used to sit at the counter eating boxes of chocolates and ruled with a rod of iron but was lovely too.¬† I could go on and on, the memories are so strong and I sometimes dream about the shop too.

I remember that we got 20 hamsters delivered every Tuesday morning at 11am. (It was a busy shop) We lost a lot though because every night they’d pick on one and kill it and we’d find the skin in the morning. Horrific. I never liked hamsters after that. The rats on the other hand were lovely and would sit on our shoulders while we were working.

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It was sad when the shop closed though in latter years it wasn’t the same. We had a macaw called Jimmy who stood on a perch and guarded the reptile area. There was no ‘health and¬†safety’ then ! He was stolen one night during a break in and we all hoped the blood on the floor was due to him attacking the robbers.

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Palmers thankfully now seems to be listed and has turned into a huge light and airy cafe. The raised floor in the window is where all the finches and¬†canaries used to be. I walk past there on the way to my friend and remember how I used to wash that tiled floor every day. I’m so glad it’s still there.

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When I went in to take these photos the other week, I noticed that on one wall there was this wall paper with monkeys on it. I think these are either squirrel monkeys or capuchin monkeys, both of which we sold. It must surely be a coincidence.

Copy of laura ashley. white cat. Palmers 009¬†I’m feeling quite emotional and have been sitting on these pics for a while as I haven’t felt like sharing them I suppose. That place meant so much to me, more than I ever realised. It was a time gone, another world, another life, with the kind of people you don’t much get to meet these days, and I’m so very lucky to have¬†experienced¬† a small part of it. It was easy for¬†teenagers to get jobs in interesting shops in those days. I only wish my children could have the same grounding that being there gave me.

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This blog is supposed to be for my vintage fabrics business but I don’t seem to be able to just stick to that. It’s too tempting to veer into other areas and subjects. Like the ¬†diary I never did.

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Birthday, Bambi, bunting and bobbles.

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A few things that I’ve just added to my shop.¬†http://www.etsy.com/shop/NickyGrace

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Filed under Bunting, Vintage Fabric

Resistance was futile

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Why did I do it ???? At least I can concentrate on other things now. I won’t say how many I’ve just had but not feeling too well. It had to be done.

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Muswell Hill, London, UK

Hampstead Heath on New Years Day 2013

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